View Full Version : Starry starry night?

2012-Feb-02, 01:11 AM
I am asking a question about a hypothetical planet in a hypothetical galaxy, if this is the wrong forum, moderators please move it. A habitable planet is orbiting a star near the center of a galaxy. On this planet live intelligent, technologicaly adbanced beings. The planet, being near the center of the galaxy, there are a lot of perturbations of the stars in the night sky. The sky is relatively full of stars but the position is constantly changing in a time frame noticable to the inhabitants of the planet. Whether monthly or yearly the positions change so that no fixed pattern can be established. Under these conditions is it possable that any meaningful astronomy can be established and if not could there ever be any prospect of space travel. We can assume that there are other planets in the system and moons orbiting some of the planets. Also assume a system unlike that in 'Nightfall', this system has only one Sun.

2012-Feb-02, 04:18 AM
What if they developed telescopes, and could observe the moons of other planets?

2012-Feb-02, 04:48 AM
Under these conditions is it possable that any meaningful astronomy can be established and if not could there ever be any prospect of space travel.

I don't see why there would be any connection. Animals move and we still have the study of zoology, so why would the stars moving prevent people from studying them?

And of course this is hypothetical, because I think it is unlikely that a planet in that situation would sustain life.

2012-Feb-02, 05:14 AM
Would they not be able to see or detect more distant objects? Quasars and the like?

2012-Feb-02, 12:17 PM
I think only the stars in the innermost 100 light years to the SMBH would be likely to be moving with so much proper motion that they would be seen as wanderers in the night sky. Everything else would be fairly fixed. I'm guessing this would make Astrology more complicated, but it would probably help, not hurt, the creation of astronomy.

2012-Feb-02, 09:39 PM
The technological society would suggest the development of telescopes, but astronomy would have started before this.

Animals on the planet are much more accessible for study and more necessary to study for survival, stars are much more remote and may not have such a direct connection to survival.

I understand that a planet in this part of a galaxy would be unlikely to be habitable, which is why I stipulated hypothetical.

In the position of this hypothetical planet with numerous bright relatively close stars it is possible that fainter stars might be washed out, and not easy to observe. The initial emphasis would be on those brighter objects and the fainter ones would be observed later if at all. If there were numerous bright stars that could not be observed to be in a fixed position in the sky, and if the orbits were perturbed enough that no pattern could be identified, there may not be any interest in looking deeper. Many years ago when the Milky Way was believed to be the extent of the universe there was an attitude that building more powerful telescopes would only reveal more of the same and nothing new. This kind of attitude could prevail if the nearby stars could not be fixed in a position or orbit.

(Before anyone picks at this, I do not claim to be able to spell very well.)

2012-Feb-04, 04:15 AM
I would think more changes in the star positions would stimulate early interest in astronomy, and when they figured out that they had been incredibly lucky to have avoided a doomsday, there would be a big demand for space travel as a way to possibly escape a doomsday which is probable near term. Planets orbiting a star might be quite rare (typically they would be ejected by near misses) but free planets might zip by quite close several times per decade, making one way interplanitary travel easier than in our solar system. Neil